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Credit: photo by Cindy Taylor Ritchie



Sande French has been a professional tennis official for over thirty-five years and remains one of the most respected African American umpires today. She has inspired other Black people and other people of color to become tennis officials or aspire to higher levels in their careers as officials.


She is the only Black female professional chair umpire in the US. Out of concern for this lack of representation, Sande participated in a lawsuit to rectify this.  Unfortunately to this day, Sande remains the only Black female professional chair umpire in the US.


Sande has taken the initiative to conceive, implement and teach chair clinics/training in her community in Northern California.


She has worked as a line umpire, chair umpire, chief of umpires, referee, trainer/evaluator, and taught certification schools.  


In 1993 Sande became the only African American in history to chair a US Open singles final, and has also had the honor of chairing an NCAA Championship final


  • Volunteered as a referee for regional wheelchair tournaments for 12 years
  •  Coached a wheelchair player
  • Member of USTA chair mentoring program 2010
  • Assistant coach for Mendocino High School team 2014
  • USTA trainer/evaluator 1995-2015


NorCal Awards:

  • Nominated Rookie of the Year - 1987
  • Umpire of the Year - 1991
  • Service to Umpiring - 1997
  • Multicultural Participation Committee Trailblazer Award - 2003


Other International and US Awards and Recognitions:

  • Elected to Bay Area African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame - 2007
  • Chaired 10 US Open finals
  • Called lines for numerous US Open finals; most recently 2019
  • Worked Wimbledon six times
  • Worked Australian Open three times
  • Chaired Fed Cups internationally



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